Urethane vs. Polyurethane


green polyurethane casterUrethane vs. polyurethane? Gallagher uses urethane and polyurethane interchangeably. It’s okay to do so! It refers to various compounds used to cast mold, injection mold, or 3D print custom parts.

Urethane vs. polyurethane? Why are the terms interchangeable?

There is no difference between the terms urethane and polyurethane. That might seem confusing, so here’s a quick explanation. Polyurethane is a polymer. A polymer consists of repeating units that are chemically linked in a particular pattern. Some of the repeating units are urethane groups. The term polyurethane simply means that it contains multiple urethane groups.

Polyurethane elastomers (urethane elastomers) are one type of a large family of elastic polymers called rubber.

Gallagher Corporation has the technical expertise and equipment to process any of these materials. The most typical combinations at

The urethane group is shown highlighted in yellow in the chemical structure shown above.

The most typical combination at Gallagher include:

  • Gallagher polyurethane partsTDI Polyester with hardness ranging from 70A to 70D
  • MDI Polyester with hardness ranging from 85A to 95A
  • TDI PTMEG Polyether with hardness ranging from 90A to 70D
  • MDI PTMEG Polyether with hardness ranging from 60A to 95A
  • TDI Polycaprolactone with hardness ranging from 60A to 55D
  • NDI Polyester (Vulkollan®) with hardness ranging from 65A to 60D

TDI Polyester materials cured with MOCA produce tough elastomers. They have outstanding abrasion resistance and excellent oil and aliphatic solvent resistance.

MDI Polyester materials cured with 1,4-Butanediol produce FDA wet and dry food grade urethanes. They are tough, abrasion and tear resistant.

TDI PTMEG Polyether materials cured with MOCA have excellent low-temperature flexibility. They have excellent dynamic properties and are resistant to microbial attack and hydrolysis.

MDI PTMEG Polyether materials cured with 1,4-Butanediol have high resilience — even at low temperatures. They have great dynamic properties, outstanding hydrolysis resistance, and improved resistance to impingement type abrasion. Some MDI Ethers can be formulated to be FDA wet and dry food approved.

TDI Polycaprolactone materials cured with MOCA have better hydrolysis resistance than other polyesters. Yet they maintain great resistance to abrasion. These materials also have great tear strength even at a low hardness.

NDI Polyester cured with 1,4-Butanediol is trademarked with the name Vulkollan®. Vulkollan® is an ultra-high performance material that has the highest mechanical load bearing ability. It is the best choice for dynamic applications.

Gallagher has been producing parts made from urethane and polyurethane for over 50 years. Contact us for more information on how we can help.